Intermittent starter

Thanks Tony for your advice. If the same symptoms had occurred with my wife’s Caravan, I would have immediately suspected the battery. However, because it started after the third or fourth attempt, I blew the obvious signs. The mystique of the E Type and the V12 kept me looking for a more exotic solution.


just today, gents XK8, he has a massive Calcium battery, 2-1/2 years old

an airbag light, and other weird codes bugging him for a while

battery failed load test!

I have many cars, and can often obtain newish batteries for free, but they are lead acid
(the failed ones were purchased new…not happy Century!)

I also have a 1000CA Lithium jump starter, its spins an XJ motor like its on meth,
they are excellent, very inexpensive now, and tiny

I think I have a similar problem. Today I started the car up after a little hesitation it started. I went for a drive and stopped to take some pictures. I shut the engine off. After a few minutes I tried to start the car and nothing, I waited a few seconds tried again and it started. When I got home I measured the volts on the battery it was reading 12.54 volts. Isn’t that low? I think it should be about 12.60 volts. My battery is about 2 years old.

Might be a weak battery Benny. You might try putting on a charger and see if it takes a charge. When you were driving, did you notice if the ammeter was showing an excessive charge? Can’t hurt to get a load test done at your local supplier either.

I have two Century batteries - usually swear by them - up to 10 years service.

Your measured dfference expectation of 0.06 Volts is well within the error bound for a multimeter. Make your measurement whilst the engine is running to assess charging. Should be up over 13.8 Volts.

I would say that is suspicious and needs a load test…a just fully charged good lead acid battery should be 12.66V or over in nearly every battery I have ever tested with a multimeter

the worst thing for our batteries in Classic cars is irregular use/poor charging regime

Its very disappointing, the 1st one had one cell not good enough…would hold voltage,
but occassionally, not be able to start the car, passed a load test…hygrometer test showed that up, less than 1yr old, had a hard time getting warranty

the replacement leaked acid and damaged the paint, presumably the case is cracked,
less than 3yrs

have switched brands

So I went for a ride to auto zone and had the battery tested, the readings were good. But I noticed on the way there my battery indicator gauge was on normal 13 v and would drop to 12 v off charge.
When I tried starting the car for the test 1st turn of the key -nothing same with 2 nd, on the third it caught and started. I also tested the alternator all read good. My battery ground is clean. Is there another ground to check I think someone mentioned engine ground if so where is it?

If it really was only reading 13v while charging I would think either the battery was bad or the charging system was bad. Should be around 14.2v when in charge. Check the voltage across the battery with a meter to rule out any misread with the in car meter. If the crate of charge is good I would say the battery is bad.

Good idea to check grounds, one for the starter is close to the starter from the tub to the engine block.

Benny, per what I think you said, if you had the battery tested and it tested okay, then just after the test the starter would not crank, it does not sound like a charging problem, it sounds like a starter circuit problem, possibly the ground that you said you will check, maybe a starter, etc. So forget about the dash indicator for now. Unfortunately, as others have attested to, battery testing is sometimes questionable. Was the test equipment used a load tester? If not, I would be questioning it, even if it was a load test, I still would not be certain as batteries can be strange. My advice is to check your grounds but then, if not resolved, troubleshoot with a meter. Even with a meter, because of your intermittent problem, it is still difficult.

your particular symptoms are more consistent with a starter…how old is it?

however, there are a few things you probably should do before R&R Starter, the easiest things first

  • Hydrometer test on battery

  • resolve the issue of the voltage at your battery terminals,while charging, it should be 13.8Vmin

the battery should hold a float charge higher than 12.66V, then be able to hold that voltage, under no load, for a few days at least

  • If the battery is +3yrs old, replace it (imo)

  • perform a systematic “Voltage Drop Test” on every connection of both positive and earth legs of your starter system…this will eliminate or identify most faults

search Youtube for the procedure, its complicated to explain, but easy to understand

imo, a qualified auto tech would/should perform all these tests before replacing

The tester at auto zone did load test and said it was good. I bought the battery 2yr and 1 month ago.
Today I checked with a multi meter the battery read was 12.3 v , during the night it lost some charge.
I turned the key and it started instantly and quickly charged up to above 13 v.I am considering getting a battery tender as my car might sit for weeks before I go for a ride.